What is the mystical Ring “Brussel’s Cut,” and is there any evidence that it actually exists? Ring from 1998 is a Japanese horror movie based on the cult novel by Koji Suzuki. Hideo Nakata directed the movie version – though it had been previously adapted as a 1995 TV movie – which follows a journalist investigating an urban legend about a cursed VHS tape that kills viewers one week after they watch it. Ring – AKA Ringu – is one of the creepiest horror movies of the 20th century, with a great central hook, an atmosphere of thick dread and an unforgettable ending.
The success of Ring kicked off a franchise and inspired the success of other J-horror titles like The Grudge. The movie’s cult success later saw it given a well-received American version fronted by Naomi Watts. A not so well-received sequel also starring Watts followed in 2005 – directed by Nakata – and a pretty poor reboot landed in 2017. The series also made an icon out of main villain Sadako, which led to the popularity of pale-faced ghost girls with long black hair, who seemed to populate the genre for a few years.
In the years that followed Ring’s release, rumors started to crop up online of another, even more terrifying cut of the movie. This version reportedly screened at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film back in 1999, where it won the Golden Raven. The main difference between the supposed “Brussel’s Cut” and the regular version was said to be in regards to the victims of the curse. Instead of frozen, screaming faces, their mouths were said to be deformed into narrow slits, which was reportedly a really horrifying effect.
The Ring’s “Brussel’s Cut” is said to have cropped up on TV airings around the world, though no screenshots or clips have ever emerged. In fact, outside of a few scattered reports, there’s essentially no evidence this alternate cut exists at all. Director Nakata has seemingly debunked the rumor too, stating in a 2005 interview with fansite Curse Of The Ring that “No, it’s not true,” when asked of another version.
There’s an outside possibility someone involved with Ring other than the director put together an alternate cut for this Brussels screening, but it’s doubtful. The most likely explanation is people who saw the movie misremember what the curse’s victims looked like, and these reports grew over time to take on a life of their own. While it probably doesn’t exist it would be cool if this mystic “Brussels Cut” of Ring did surface, especially if it’s on a grainy, old VHS tape…